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28 Jan 2011 04:01:53

UK PM backs European supergrid plan

UK Prime Minister David Cameron has reiterated the UK's support for plans to explore linking up green energy projects in the North, Baltic and Irish Seas.

The PM shared that energy ministers will work together through the North Seas Offshore Grid Initiative and share experience with ministers in the Baltic Energy Market Interconnection Plan (BEMIP) to ensure planning, market, regulatory and technical challenges are properly addressed and the right framework created for industry to invest in future projects.

The UK is working with nine other European countries as part of the North Seas Offshore Grid Initiative, following an agreement signed in December last year. These countries include the UK, Ireland, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, Norway and Belgium. A progress report on work towards an offshore grid will be presented to the North Seas Offshore Grid Initiative (NSOGI) ministers in June of this year.

Last month, ministers from 10 European countries bordering the North Sea agreed upon the construction of a new offshore electricity grid. The memorandum of understanding, signed by Ministers and the European Commission in Brussels, is the starting point to create a new offshore grid and to tear down unnecessary and costly barriers to electricity trade between EU member states: EU governments have agreed to cooperate on identifying and eliminating barriers to cross-border electricity trade; Ministers also agreed to simplify complex and lengthy authorisation procedures, which today hinder the planning and construction of a transnational offshore grid.

As per the political declaration on the North Seas Countries Offshore Grid Initiative, the plan is to build on existing collaborative initiatives in the Pentalateral member countries, will use the results of research (such as EWIS, Tradewind, Windspeed, Offshore Grid and ISLES) and will be informed by other multilateral initiatives, in particular the Kriegers Flak project in the Baltic Sea. Furthermore, the result of this work will provide joint input from the North Seas countries to the planned European Commission's Communication on a blueprint for a North Sea offshore grid.

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